Art, Science, and Diplomacy: Imagery of the MaCartney Embassy to China

Chen, Shanshan 陳珊珊
Supervisor: Prof. G.M. Thomas

The Macartney Embassy to China  of 1793 is generally believed to mark a transition in the European attitude towards China from admiration to contempt during a process of increasing knowledge about China. Although the British mission failed in its efforts to open the sealed gate of China, it did gain an opportunity to observe China closely for the first time. During their journey, embassy members launched a project of cataloguing, describing, organizing, and evaluating new data of China through empirical and scientific means. From the initial preparation of the gifts for the Qianlong emperor to the embassy's survey of the Qing empire, science played an indispensable role in accumulating knowledge and constructing the image of China. This thesis focuses on the role of art and image making in this scientific aspect of the Macartney Embassy. It examines the large volume of textual and visual records that were produced by the embassy in order to examine how artists and scientists understood, selected, and represented information on China, and how that information was reworked into works of art by artists, book illustrators, and publishers. I argue that  in contrast to either exotic Chionoiserie or the Utopian image pictured by the Jesuits, the artists and scientists on the embassy collaborated to create a more realistic image of China based on scientific and empirical observations of unprecedented accuracy. I show that these scientifically oriented images offered a distinct voice in the representation of China, sometimes offering more positive views than the embassy's textual accounts. This negotiation of text and image reveals diverse opinions among embassy members, related to their distinct identities and purposes, which led to an ambivalent view of China in books and articles published in Britain. I also argue that despite the embassy's many negative criticisms in text, China was treated differently than in Orientalist discourse; the British embassy and its advisors and sponsors regarded China as an equal and competing entity, one that offered much positive material for both scientific knowledge and artistic representation. In chapters one and two, I examine the gift exchange between the embassy and the Qianlong emperor and the representation of their historical meeting in both British and Chinese images. In chapters three to six, I examine how visual images created by British artists and draughtsmen were endowed with a scientific dimension stemming from the emergence of multiple new scientific disciplines in the late 18th century, including marine science, natural history, geography, archaeology, human science, and the history of science and technology. In the last chapter, I examine the publications of the embassy, some aspects of their reception, and the artistic legacy of embassy images, which exerted a major influence on subsequent ideas and images about China.

Bamboo in Principle: Ke Jiusi’s (1290-1349) Paintings and Knowledge in the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368)

Leung, Pui Yi 梁佩儀
Supervisor: Dr. R.L. Hammers

This thesis addresses the historical and cultural context of bamboo painting by Ke Jiusi 柯九思 (1290-1349), a famous ink bamboo painter and an art connoisseur at the Yuan (1271-1368) Mongol court. By reassessing the historical significance of bamboo, the status of bamboo painters, and the function of bamboo painting in the Yuan, this thesis seeks to reclaim alternative meanings for bamboo painting. Traditional scholarship considers bamboo painting as an art with lofty-minded associations for artists to articulate independence from the court. As my research addresses, artists who painted bamboo collaborated with the Mongol imperium. A review indicates that government administrators and emperors valued the materiality and cultural meanings of bamboo. A metaphor for virtue, bamboo represented rulers, aristocrats, scholar officials and military leaders. By the Yuan, bamboo was an established painting subject that experienced stylistical developments and elaborations, that contemporary viewers referred as different schools (pai 派). Combining textural documents and visual materials, this thesis examines the changing meanings of the Huzhou School – a style associated with Wen Tong 文同 (1018-1079) and Li Kan 李衎 (1245-1320). In my interpretation Ke Jiusi sought to promote and perpetuate the new meaning of the Huzhou school through his bamboo painting. Ke Jiusi responded to and shaped newly developing roles for bamboo in the Yuan. Bamboo became a vehicle for the display of knowledge of the li 理 (universal principle) in Neo-Confucian teachings. Such associations between bamboo and Neo-Confucianist ideas generated shifts in the meanings of bamboo painting and of li. By the Yuan, li in painting stands for the artists’ ability to observe and represent the subject in variations of forms and conditions with descriptive details. The Mongol court had decreed Zhu Xi 朱熹 (1130-1200) as providing the authoritative interpretations of the Confucian Classics. Consequently artists such as Li Kan and Ke Jiusi applied this philosophy to attaining li through gewu 格物 (investigating things) in bamboo painting. They revitalized the Wen Tong style of naturalistic bamboo. Mongol rulers rewarded these bamboo painters with court positions and celebrated their style as representative of the genuine scholar-officials (zhen shidafu 真士大夫). This fostered a competitive environment among bamboo painters of different styles and we see an increase in artists who were interested in painting the subject bamboo. Rather than continuing with the present understanding of Chinese literati, artists, and scholar-officials in conflict with the Mongol court, the thesis seeks to regard bamboo painting as an instance, possibly one of many, in which the Mongol imperium and cultural elites collaborated. By analyzing Ke Jiusi’s Bamboo Suite (Zhupu 竹譜), I argue that Ke depicted bamboo in relation to its changing environmental conditions, developing his distinctive style of ink bamboo painting. Through these new formal arrangements, Ke Jiusi positioned himself as the legitimate successor of Wen Tong, and advanced his descriptive and meticulous brushwork as genuinely scholarly.

The European Reception of Chinese Painting and Calligraphy after 1600 and before 1860

Kwok, Yin Ning 郭燕寧
Supervisor: Prof. G.M. Thomas

European writings on Chinese art were cultural products illustrating how Europeans understood and evaluated Chinese visual and material culture at different times. However, these European writings have not been thoroughly studied in art history. Most scholarship has examined Chinese influence on western art, western collecting of Chinese art, or western reactions to specific works of Chinese art and architecture. The present thesis instead traces the evolution of the European reception of Chinese art, with a focus on painting and calligraphy, as expressed in 34 English-language texts published from 1600 to 1860, based on a selection of the most important, influential, or typical writings in the period. It identifies every mention of painting and calligraphy in the selected texts and compares them to comments about Chinese architecture and material culture. By tracing the recycling of various ideas from one author to another, the thesis shows how the English-language discourse of Chinese art evolved from 1600 to the Second Opium War. I make four major arguments regarding these writings. First, there were three main stages in the development of European understanding of Chinese art during this period: what I call an exploring stage, a translating stage, and a diverging stage. In the exploring stage (c.1600-1750), Europeans showed a high level of sensibility to Chinese civilization and cultural products. They carried out a wide range of explorations of Chinese art and culture and described many cultural differences and artistic practices without trying to explain what they noticed in terms of European cultural frameworks or concepts. In the translating stage (c.1750-1840), Europeans now tried much more to comprehend Chinese aesthetic practices and conventions based on frameworks and concepts from their own European cultural discourse and artistic tradition. The diverging stage (c.1840-1860) saw most writers shift attention away from art and material culture, while a few writers were able to reach more profound understandings of Chinese painting and calligraphy. The remarkable person in this phase was George Lay, who in 1841 expressed an exceptional appreciation of Chinese aesthetics and artistic features in both painting and calligraphy, based for the time on Chinese rather than western tastes and principles. My second argument is that the physicality and materiality of art forms played a critical role in European appreciation of Chinese art. As a result, painting and calligraphy were little valued and discussed in this period, while Europeans paid much more attention to architecture, gardening, porcelain, silk, and mechanical arts like printing and paper making. My third argument is that cultural compatibility was another pivotal factor affecting how Europeans evaluated Chinese painting and calligraphy. They generally based their judgments on European artistic references, particularly illusionistic realism, linear perspective, 3-D modeling, and color. Many writers appreciated flower-and-bird painting because the naturalistic outlining of objects and use of bright colors matched European principles and tastes in oil painting. On the other hand, most writers throughout the period ignored portraiture and monochrome landscape painting and criticized the Chinese depiction of space for failing to use linear perspective. Such criticism was not due to cultural arrogance or political ideology, but due to the incompatibility of Chinese art forms with dominant practices and principles within Europe. My fourth argument is that Europeans' preference for art forms that had more physical and material appeal paralleled the taste for chinoiserie in the 17th and 18th centuries. This materialist taste helps explain why the thriving development of European portraiture and landscape painting in Europe during the 18th and 19th centuries did not lead to any increased appreciation of Chinese portraiture or landscape. These four major arguments help illustrate how Europeans' knowledge construction took place and explain the driving forces behind such a long and complex process of understanding Chinese culture. Examining the written texts as analyzed in the present study not only opens up such a new horizon but also deepens our vision in seeing that even cross-cultural writings that seem highly empirical (e.g. travel writing, encyclopedias, scientific reports, etc.) are not as neutral or impartial as they appear; that the processes of empirical knowledge-making are loaded with many preconditions; and that these processes are also affected by physical and material factors that are outside those social cultural realms. By examining the European reception of Chinese painting and calligraphy, we can better understand the evolutionary process of and the factors affecting European interpretation of Chinese art, and how those early views influenced the later development of Chinese art history in the west.

Seismic States: The Changing System of Support for Contemporary Art in China, 1978-1993

DeBevoise, Jane Boettgen
Supervisor: Prof. D.J. Clarke

The subject of this thesis is the evolving system of support for contemporary visual art made in China between 1978 and 1993. This thesis is based on contemporary publications and interviews with artists and art advocates, in addition to other archival materials, including personal records, correspondence, photographs, treatises, advertising, newspaper clippings, and exhibition documentation. The first section of this thesis begins with an investigation of the state as the patron of the arts. This investigation includes the interlocking roles of the Chinese Artists Association, the National Art Museum of China (NAMOC), and the National Art Exhibition in developing the cultural priorities that came to characterize state-sanctioned art in the 1980s. The critical debate around the painting Father by Luo Zhongli illustrates the process of cultural canon-building. The second section focuses on the development of an overseas market for ink painting and realist oil painting in the 1980s, as well as the impact of market reform and the introduction of an economic incentive system on institutions of art, including NAMOC and other incipient art spaces, such as the Beijing International Art Palace. This section also introduces the critique of commercialism that ebbed and waned, but was a recurrent concern in the art world at the time. The third section explores the critical debate about the state-sponsored system of cultural authority and the market, and highlights the emergence from this contested space of a series of alternative platforms of visibility and exposure. These alternative platforms include art publications such as Zhongguo meishubao, Meishu sichao, and exhibition opportunities such as the New Concrete Image exhibition, the Hubei Youth Arts Festival, the Institute Art Tapestry Varbanov, and the 1989 China Avant-Garde Exhibition at NAMOC. Within this context, the experimental artwork of artists such as Mao Xuhui, Gu Wenda, and Wu Shanzhuan is discussed. The fourth section focuses on the 1992 Guangzhou Biennial, which was a pioneering attempt by contemporary artists and their champions, including its organizer Lu Peng, to create an alternative framework of legitimacy and support for experimental art in the wake of Tiananmen Square. Concluding this chapter is an examination of the 1993 exhibition in Hong Kong called China‘s New Art, Post-1989, which was instrumental in launching Chinese contemporary art into the international marketplace. The work of Wang Guangyi is discussed in the context of both exhibitions. In summary, by examining the shift in the socio-economic context in which art was made, presented, promoted, and received, this study problematizes the study of contemporary Chinese art, by illuminating both continuities and changes in the development of art between the 1980s and 1990s. It also provides a historical perspective from which to consider the impact of market reform and the overseas market on the development of contemporary Chinese art today.

Performance Art and the Body in Contemporary China

Fok, Siu Har Silvia 霍少霞
Supervisor: Prof. D.J. Clarke

This thesis examines the historical development of performance art (xingwei yishu) in contemporary China since the mid-1980s. Xingwei yishu is the most common term used to connote the enactment of a performance by the artist’s body. This thesis aims to look into the specific role the artist’s body plays in Chinese performance art. The first chapter examines the diverse roles the body plays in relation to the site in different performance works to reveal its historical development. Comparison of performance works with similar content and body language is made. Works by Xiao Lu, Wu Shanzhuan, Shu Yang, Pan Xinglei, Song Yongping, Ai Weiwei, Zhang Huan, Yang Zhichao, Zhu Fadong, Li Wei, Cang Xin, Gao brothers, Zhan Wang, He Yunchang, Li Haibing, Luo Zidan, Kong Yongqian, Lin Yilin, Wang Wei, Song Dong, Qiu Zhijie, Yin Xiuzhen, Wang Jin, Young Hay, Zheng Lianjie, Wang Chuyu, Liu Jin, Wang Wei, Liu Wei, Shi Qing, Zhang Hui, Wu Ershan, Xiao Xiong and Qin Ga are examined. In addition, the second chapter scrutinizes nudity in Chinese performance art. The history of nudity in performance art as compared with other art forms pinpoints an unstable power relation between performance artists and the authorities. By analyzing ten performance works in the nude from 1984 to 2004 by Wang Peng, Concept 21, Qi Li, SHS Group, Ma Liuming, Zhang Huan, East Village Artists, Zhu Ming, He Yunchang and He Chengyao, it offers a historical study of the transformation of this genre in contemporary China. Lastly, the third chapter examines different approaches in representing life and death through the body in performance art. There is a significant development from performing in a symbolic way appropriating ritual symbols to directly engaging animal bodies and/or corporeal materials with the artist’s body. The controversies of exploiting animal bodies and corpses overwhelm the art circle and society. Works by Wei Guangqing, Wang Youshen, Huang Yan, Zhu Gang, Zhou Bin, Lanzhou Art Army, Neo-History Group, Gu Kaijun, Huang Rui, Dai Guangyu, Sun Yuan and Peng Yu, Xu Bing, Zhang Peili, Yang Zhenzhong, Wang Jin, Wang Chuyu, Zhang Shengquan, Xu Zhen, Wu Gaozhong and Zhu Yu are examined. This study shows that it is through pinning down the role of the artist’s body can we grasp the impact of the body and different relationships represented in each of these works. This thesis focuses on the diverse roles and impact of the artist’s body in Chinese performance art: be it personal, socio-cultural or political. It offers a contextual analysis that representation of the artist’s body is enhanced along with other artistic developments in contemporary China.

Mid-Muromachi Flower and Bird Painting in Ashikaga Painting Circles

Ng, Yuk Lan 吳玉蘭
Supervisor: Dr. P.R. Stanley-Baker

The mid-Muromachi period, between circa 1420 and 1525, bears significant documentary, literary, and visual evidence which demonstrate the close relationship between Ashikaga collecting and display of Chinese painting and the character of Japanese ink painting produced during this time. As major art patrons, the Ashikaga shoguns, especially Yoshimitsu, Yoshinori and Yoshimasa, played a crucial part in encouraging native painters in shogunal circles to replay desirable Chinese styles. Such works not only reflect the aesthetics of the shogunate but also anticipate shogunal influence over monastic and baronial tastes after the mid-fifteenth century. As a prelude to the evaluation of the artistic contributions of the Ashikaga shoguns, their roles in foreign relations, politics, construction programmes, and cultural activities are studied. The Ashikaga’s motives in maintaining diplomatic and commercial relations with Ming China are reviewed. The context, function and significance of building projects and cultural activities are discussed in relation to issues of collecting patterns, kaisho decor, and cultural hegemony. The Ashikaga shoguns are always given chief credit for promoting Chinese culture and aesthetics. To get an overview, the issue of Chinese influence on Muromachi flower and bird painting in terms of style, composition, format and subject is assessed. Major flower and bird subjects, roughly divided into three groups, are examined in search for their origins, meanings, groupings. The shoguns’ choice of format, style, and subject is further interpreted with regard to context, function, and semiology. The prominent role played by the Ashikaga shoguns in cultural development was most significantly demonstrated by their direct patronage of the arts. Flower and bird paintings by shogunal circles, including doboshu curator-connoisseur-painters, Shokokuji priest-painters, and professional painters, are examined in terms of format, theme, subject, semiotics, and technique, on the basis of two stylistic traditions associated with Muqi and Chinese academicians. The Muqi tradition, the stylistic focus of early and mid-Muromachi flower and bird paintings, is defined based on literary sources and major attributions. The Zen sphere, under which Muqi-oriented styles had established, is discussed with highlight on Ashikaga patronage and gozan culture. For Japanese adaptations of Muqi flower-and-bird styles, early Zen-inspired works by Kao, Tesshu, and Ryozen and later increasingly secular ones by Noami, Chiden, Saian, Sotan, Sokei, Geiai are examined. Paintings by Sesso Toyo, Shinko, Shokei, Soen, Sesson are discussed to mirror the overwhelming influence of Muqi flower-and-bird tradition outside shogunal circles. The rising interest in academic modes in the shogunate after the mid-fifteenth century is assessed, despite relatively limited development in flower-and-bird category. Works by Shökei and Koetsu are examined as examples of the reception of Song academic flower-and-bird painting style, against those associated with Sesshu,Toshun, Masanobu, and Motonobu which are examined in the light of Ming Zhe school influence. The roles and duties of official advisors and painters are also outlined as direct evidence for Ashikaga patronage. In sum, this dissertation evaluates the roles and contributions of the Ashikaga in artistic and cultural developments by investigating the cultural milieu they nurtured and by examining flower and bird paintings in shogunal painting circles.

China Trade Painting: 1750s to 1880s

Lee, Sai Chong Jack 李世莊
Supervisor: Prof. Q.L. Wan

This thesis contains seven chapters. Chapter One outlines the current scholarships on the study of China trade painting. For a long time, China trade painting has been excluded from the tradition of Chinese art history. It usually appeared as a branch of decorative arts in the art history of China though it is becoming an area of interest of some Chinese scholars in recent years when a number of PhD research papers on the subject are produced. In the second chapter, I shall discuss one of the earliest type of export art catered for the European market, that is the making of clay models. From the works by the Chinese modelers, one will see the early encounter between Chinese artist and Westerners, in and outside China. Chapter Three focuses on reverse painting on glass, a completely new medium imported to China from the West since the eighteenth century. Moreover, the demand for portrait by Westerners emerged in Canton since the late eighteenth century, the extant oil portraits of Spoilum, the earliest known Chinese portrait painter, reflect that painters in Canton already utilized western medium with certain degree of confidence and proficiency. The fourth chapter examines the design of Chinese images by Pu-Qua. These images were popular and influential as they are major sources of Western understanding of the Chinese in the late eighteenth century. Till the mid—nineteenth century, trade painters in Canton kept on reproducing Pu-Qua’s design for the Western market. A considerable proportion of my thesis is devoted to Lamqua as both Chapters Five and Six offer a comprehensive study of artist. Undoubtedly, Lamqua played an extremely crucial role in the history of China trade painting as he was the most famous and well documented artist in the West. Apart from inspecting the controversial identity of Lamqua, I will give a detail analysis of the oil portraits he executed for both his Chinese and Western customers. These portraits on one hand demonstrate the high proficiency of a Chinese painter in utilizing oil paint, the sitters depicted also illustrate the socio-political situation of Canton. Moreover, due to the reputation of Lamqua, his studio has always been a tourist spot for visitors to Canton. A precise study of the modus operandi of Lamqua’s painter studio can give us an idea of how Western style paintings were massively manufactured by many anonymous painters in the nineteenth century Canton. The concluding chapter discusses how trade painting industry flourished since the 1840s. The individual character of trade painters became more identifiable during this period, from Tingqua, Sunqua to Youqua, each painter and their studios bear certain characteristics that are not found in others, even though the kind of pictures they produced are sometimes overlapping. The increasing economic and political importance of Hong Kong after British colonization opened a potential art market for trade painters. With the advent of photography, the production of trade painting faced a new challenge if not a treat. The quick response of the late nineteenth century trade painters in integrating painting and photography to their art business once again manifested their flexibility and open attitude towards Western art media.

The Conventional and the Individual in Fu Baoshi’s (1904-1965) Painting

Siu, Fun Kee 蕭芬琪
Supervisor: Prof. Q.L. Wan

Fu Baoshi (Fu Ruilin 傅瑞麟, alias Baoshi 抱石, hao Baoshizhai Zhuren 抱石齋主人) was a well-known and influential artist who possessed triple identities as a scholar, painter and seal engraver. The purpose of this thesis is to comprehensively examine and analyze the available materials regarding Fu and study in detail his existent work in order to sort out his artistic achievements and contributions to contemporary Chinese art history. The thesis begins with a literature review in Chapter One, which saw Fu enjoy a remarkable reputation during his lifetime and his artistic talents were greatly valued. It continues in Chapter Two, a discussion of the stylistic development of Fu's landscape painting alongside with his scholarly pursuit of Chinese painting history. There were four stages in development: the initial stage (1904-1939), the high-spirited advancing period (1939-1946), the mature stage (1946-1957) and a stage of scaling new heights (1957-1965). Enlightened by Shitao's theory and work, Fu advanced at every stage by earning from practice and nature, and successfully captured the essence of the landscape. He accomplished a textural painting technique of 'Baoshi Cun 抱石皴' which brought a breakthrough to the restraints on traditional painting brushwork. Fu's pursuit of antiquity in figure paintings is examined in Chapter Three. These paintings are always related to Chinese literature and history. The representation of poets, such as Qu Yuan, Tao Yuanming, Shitao, Du Fu and Li Bai, shows the intellectuals' consciousness of suffering. Apart from his remarkable reflection of poems, Fu was fond of illustrating ancient stories and through some of them, he satirized the ills of the times and expressed his discontent. His figure painting is distinguished by the professional use of line, which benefited from his study of line, the influence of Gu Kaizhi and Fu's seal engraving. It follows by a discussion on the periodical styles in terms of variant of brushwork, eye expressions, modeling of figure and application of colors. The focus then shifts to Fu's paintings on Mao Zedong's poems in Chapter Four. Following a brief account of Mao's theory on art, Fu's primary motives for creating this category of paintings were his antipathy to the Nationalist Party, his expectations from the Communist Party, the influence of Guo Moruo and the charm of Mao's poems. The discussion concludes that with his innovative expression and rich imagination, the paintings have advanced Mao's original poems and achieved a lofty ideal. Finally, brief survey on Fu's seal engraving in Chapter Five is devoted to explore his superlative craftsmanship in carving skill and his attainment of individuality beyond antiquity, with his upright and patriotic personality embodied in the content and style of the seals. Furthermore, the 'Chronological Biography of Fu Baoshi', 'List of Seals' and 'Distribution of Collection of Fu Baoshi's Paintings' are attached to the thesis.

Chen Shizeng (1862-1923) and the Reform of Chinese Art

Gao, Xindan 高昕丹
Supervisor: Prof. Q.L. Wan and Prof. David Clarke

Zhang Daqian’s (1899-1983) Place in the History of Chinese Painting

Law, Suk Mun Sophia 羅淑敏
Supervisor: Prof. Q.L. Wan

Patterns in the Collecting and Connoisseurship of Chinese Art in Hong Kong and Taiwan

Wear, Eric Otto 華立強
Supervisor: Prof. David Clarke and Prof. Q.L. Wan

This thesis articulates and demonstrates a reflexive practice of investigation into the meanings of artworks in the lives of individuals. Particular, observed instances of experience and interpretation are considered through the employment of a 'toolbox' of approaches drawn from situational sociology (and ethnography) and object relations theory as employed in clinical psychoanalysis. As in ethnographic study and practitioners' accounts of psychoanalysis, attention is given to the investigator as the principal instrument in the investigation and the source of resulting descriptions. In form, the thesis is composed through parallel lines of abstraction (and concern for published discourse) and concrete observations. The practice of proceeding on these two levels simultaneously (and the digressions that this process occasions) is a significant aspect of the thesis, realising as it does a reflection on the epistemology of inquiry and description. An important consequence of this undertaking is to demonstrate alternatives for art historical research and writing, emphasising the context and situated character of interpretative practice and its understanding. As a part of this thesis, a small-scale study was undertaken between 1992 and 1997 with approximately sixty persons who interpret contemporary and historical art in Hong Kong and Taiwan. This had the primary aim of considering how methodological and descriptive strategies might illuminate the circumstances of the subjects, and to recognise further issues that might arise from the actualities of fieldwork and participant inquiry. A secondary concern was to explicate a portion of the art field in Hong Kong and Taiwan; in particular, the activities, strategies and interpretations of persons who employ Chinese art in articulations of self or as a part of their engagement with social circumstances.

The Life and Art Photography of Lang Jingshan (1892-1995)

Lai, Kin Keung Edwin 黎健強
Supervisor: Prof. Q.L. Wan

Lang Jingshan (1892-1995) was indisputably the most prominent figure in the history of Chinese art photography. Indeed, his personal life, artistic career, theories of art photography, and influence have been regarded by some writers as a summing-up of the main currents of Chinese art photography from its inception to about 1980. This thesis traces his life and career and explains the related historical background, analyzes his theories of art photography and examines his art photographs. In short, it gives a comprehensive account of the life and art of one of the best known names in modern Chinese art. This thesis is divided into five chapters. Chapter One is the historical background. It gives a summary account of the history of Chinese art photography from its inception to the present. Since Lang Jingshan had become interested in photography before the advent of art photography in China, it also briefly charts the introduction of the medium to China and the early developments. Chapter Two traces Lang Jingshan’s life and photographic career. It includes his family background, his childhood and education, his first contact with art and photography, his jobs and marriages, death, etc. Especially it looks into the various phases of Lang Jingshan’s career in art photography. Chapter Three investigates Lang Jingshan’s views and theories of art photography. It examines the artist’s views of photography, art and art photography, and discusses his theories of art photography, and the theories and procedures of composite photography which he was best known for. With more than five hundred illustrations Chapter Four engages a close study of Lang Jingshan’s photography. Through the organization of his output in relations to their time periods and subjects, it interprets these images with references to the history of Chinese photography and the artist’s personal life. Chapter Five is the conclusion. It deals with two central issues: what position Lang Jingshan occupied in the history of Chinese art photography, and how his art can be critically assessed. It argues that Lang Jingshan had played an important role in the early developments of Chinese art photography, and although there are problems and limitations in his views and art, they offer a lesson that we can learn from.

Dance Sculpture as a Visual Motif of the Sacred and the Secular : A Comparative Study of the Belur Cennakesava and the Halebidu Hoysalesvara Temples

Ramaswami, Siri
Supervisor: Dr. R. Ghose

Jiehua of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911)

Chung, Miu Fun Anita 鍾妙昏
Supervisor: Prof. J.H. Chou

The Qing dynasty witnessed the resurgence of a traditional category of Chinese painting dominated by subjects like architecture, vehicles, furniture, and so on. This category of painting is often called jiehua. The present study focuses on images of architecture created inside the court in Beijing and outside the palace in Yangzhou during the golden age from the Kangxi (1662-1722) to the Qianlong (1736-1795) periods. Although it explores the development of the genre in only two major centres, detailed analyses of themes, styles, and meanings of works produced within and without the court academy suffice to reveal how jiehua has served as the media for transmitting cultural messages within Qing Chinese society. These paintings reveal the preoccupation of a segment of Qing population with power legitimation and status assertion within the hierarchical order. This hierarchy was perpetuated by the many rituals performed within society and by the fact that those in superior positions were in possession of luxurious material cultures. Grand pictorial images of actual architecture including ritual space, royal palaces, the ruler's empire, and private estates were sites on which to advertise the social station of particular individuals or groups, and visions of splendid estates of the historical and the mythical worlds were pertinent to their contemporary material life. Monumental scale and descriptive complexity thus characterise these architectural images. Qing jiehua artists expressed a new cosmological view through images of the material world. Their solid renderings of architecture underscored the contemporary concern for the substance of things. The stylistic innovations in Qing jiehua were based on traditions. Although European representational techniques were adopted as a result of missionary activities at court, the borrowing was partial and selective. In transforming past conventions, artists created meaningful built environments for articulating contemporary views. In brief: Qing jiehua feature distinct styles that have important cultural and social implications.

Huang Binhong (1865-1955) and His Redefinition of the Chinese Painting Tradition in the Twentieth Century

Kotewall, Pikyee 蘇碧懿
Supervisor: Prof. Q.L. Wan

Born in an era in which the sovereignty of Chinese traditional painting was challenged by attempts of westernization, Huang Binhong regenerated traditional painting, particularly scholar-painting, by redefining the contents and characteristics of its tradition. Driven by nationalism, he adopted an uncommonly liberal and original approach towards the challenge of change and the issue of modernity in twentieth century Chinese painting. In order to place the life and art of Huang Binhong in their proper historical perspectives, the thesis begins with a general analysis of the ideological trends and artistic environment in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century in China. It continues with an examination of Huang's life history, which gives informed insights into his personality, the intellectual traditions he inherited and the extent he was conditioned and affected by the national, social, ideological and artistic conditions during the period he lived in. An attempt follows to analyse his intentions behind his artistic endeavours, to ascertain his philosophies and standpoints towards the art of painting and to clarify his views on paintings, past and present, with a detailed examination of his writings on the subject. The next stage is to draw out Huang Binhong's many principles on the practice of painting and examine his interpretations of the various painting qualities venerated in tradition. The thesis continues with a detailed discussion of the painting development of Huang Binhong and a critical appreciation of his paintings. The investigation concludes with an assessment of Huang Binhong's achievement. Modernity in Chinese painting had inadvertently led Huang to perpetuate internally in Chinese painting methods and to evolve a new style of traditional painting. But Huang also acknowledged the modern world and recognized the histories of western painting. Some of his ideas, especially in regard to the effects of light and the autonomous use of the brush and ink converged with those of western Impressionism and Modernism. Yet it is important not to exaggerate its degree of influence, which in Huang Binhong's case, could be no more than a source of inspiration and a corroborative agent. Huang Binhong was unique in his demonstration of the feasibility of the coming together of an unadulterated Chinese painting tradition with certain concepts of western art. His redefinition of the Chinese painting tradition, in the modern context of the twentieth century, dissolved the traditionalistic relationship to tradition by allowing for a broadening of its perimeters. Through the use of the brush and ink, Huang created a new form of modernistic scholar-painting. Hence, he had used modernity to reinforce tradition, instead of, to destroy it. Huang Binhong showed how a traditional painter confronted modernity, and how he became modernistic without surrendering any of the tradition he was so intent on preserving.

The Imperial Porcelain Wares of the Late Qing Dynasty

Kwan, Sin Ming Simon 關善明
Supervisor: Mr. S.C. Chuang

This thesis is devoted to the study of Qing ceramics from the reign of Daoguang (1821-1850) to the reign of Xuantong (1909-1911), covering a period of approximately ninety years. During this period, the ceramic art of China was dominated by the work of the Imperial Porcelain Factory. This Factory was responsible for the production of practically all the ceramic wares required by the imperial court. The Imperial Porcelain Factory of the late Qing period, or the “imperial Kilns” as it was commonly called, was located in Jingdezhen, near Zhushan . Two versions of the annual production catalogues of the Factory are available to-day. One belongs to the reign of Tongzhi (1862-1874) and the other one belongs to the reign of Guangxu (1875-1908). Items mentioned in these two catalogues have been almost completely identified and are illustrated in this thesis. Ceramic wares produced by the Imperial Porcelain Factory, that is, the imperial wares, may be classified into three main categories; ritual vessels, domestic wares and special items. Designs for all these wares were prepared at the imperial palace under the direct control of the Emperor and the Department of Works. Drawings and wooden models were made in Beijing and sent to Jingdezhen from time to time. Sample pieces were made by the Factory and returned to the palace for approval and ordering. The Imperial Porcelain Factory of the late Qing period was a fully equipped establishment capable of producing ceramic wares from the raw clay stage to the fully decorated clay bodies ready for firing. However, the actual work of the firing of the imperial wares was carried out by private kilns in Jingdezhen on a consignment basis. Firing kilns for these wares were the egg-shaped kilns of Jingdezhen and the firing material was the wood of pine trees. Decoration and design of the imperial wares of late Qing were substantially based on the designs of the Ming and early Qing period. However, there were other innovative designs and decorative techniques developed during this period. Finally, almost every one of the imperial wares of this period carries an imperial mark. As these marks are identifiable as being written by a very limited number of mark-writers at the Factory, they serve as an important guide for the authentication of the imperial porcelain wares of the late Qing dynasty.

Hua Yen, 1682-1756: His Life and Art

Tsang, Ka Bo 曾家寶
Supervisor: Mr. S.C. Chuang

Hua Yen lived from the latter part of the seventeenth century to about the mid-eighteenth century, a period in which the newly established Ch'ing dynasty strengthened its political and economic stability. In art, the  Manchu rulers endorsed the conservative literati style. However, a spirit of striving for an unique means of self-expression, already prevalent in works of late Ming i-min (loyalist) artists (notably the "Four Monks", Ch' en Hung-shou) and Kung Hsien, among others), culminated in a blossoming of diversified styles practised by progressive painters living in Yang-chou, the economic and cultural centre of eighteenth-century China. Traditionally, Hua Yen has been regarded as a conservative artist. Since the Republic, however, art historians occasionally have reclassified Hua Yen as one of the so-called "Eight Eccentric Masters of Yang-chou". The aim of this paper is to give an in-depth stylistic analysis o the art of Hua Yen in order to evaluate his posit on in the history of later Chinese painting. Until lately, the life of Hua Yen has been treated only summarily. The recent discovery of the Hua family genealogical record helps tremendously in shedding light on crucial factors that shaped Hua Yen's life and personality. Chapter I discusses mainly Hua Yen' s biography. This includes, in addition to the problem of his chronology, his family background, life history, travelling activities, personality, as well as his religious and philosophical thoughts. Chapter II deals with Hang-chou and Yang-chou, two important cities where Hua Yen spent the better part of his life. Also introduced are major literary and artistic figures with whom Hua Yen became acquainted in these two places. In an endeavour to present a comprehensive study of Hua Yen's art, Chapter III begins with a brief survey of the artistic atmosphere in the early Ch'ing dynasty. This is followed by a consideration of some of the major stylistic sources among Hua Yen's oeuvre, and an analysis of the fundamental aspects pertaining to his individual style, namely: his versatile treatment of subject matter, compositional designs, and painting techniques. Also included are some interesting examples of forgeries which serve to illustrate the problem of authenticity among paintings by Hua Yen. Discussed in Chapter IV is the influence of Hua Yen on posterity, that may be judged by his large following in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In conclusion, various appraisals of Hua Yen's art by notable biographers, art critics, collectors and artists are examined .. Through their evaluations, it is clear that the art of Hua Yen has won greater appreciation since his death. With the passage of time, in fact, the popularity of Hua Yen has even surpassed most of. his more famous Yang-chou contemporaries. Moreover, Hua Yen's eclectic taste sets his style apart from those of the "Eight Eccentric Masters". He should be regarded, therefore, as one of the representative figures of the "Yang-chou School", but not as one of the "Eight Eccentric Masters of Yang-chou".

A Study of Shiwan Pottery

Scollard, Fredrikke Skinsnes
Supervisor: Mr. S.C. Chuang

This study of Shiwan pottery takes a comprehensive approach to an understanding of the life and pottery products of the small town of Shiwan in Foshan Municipality, 26 miles from Guangzhou. In addition to written references, the study has required assessment of two major bodies of information: 1) historical and archaeological studies as carried out in Guangdong Province over the last 30 years, and 2) classification and oral tradition as preserved in Hong Kong. The study is divided into three major portions: the early history and archaeology of the region (Chapter II), the pottery products in the Ming and Qing periods (Chapter III), and modernization in Shiwan after 1949 (Chapter IV). Some technical aspects concerning kilns and materials are included in a fifth chapter. In the first portion all existing materials regarding Shiwan, including history, archaeology, literary reference and legend, are put into a chronological framework. Archaeological materials reveal that the region has produced pottery since Neolithic times and that the beginning of continuous production of pottery daily use wares in areas neighbouring Shiwan began in the Tang Dynasty. Shiwan remained primarily a producer of daily utensils. Art produce developed almost as an afterthought in the spare time hobbies of the hard working potters, which developed artistically in its own right along with the flourishing of Foshan as a city of handicraft art. The second portion of the study discusses the pottery products. Attention is given to the daily utensils since they continued to provide Shiwan's main livlihood, a fact which the potters say is very important in the unique esthetic of their art pottery. The main problems confronting the early wares are classification and dating, probably related to various migrations of potter families. The study draws primarily on the experience of Hong Kong in these matters and presents preliminary results of a thermoluminescent dating project which has been initiated in cooperation with Australian National University. The esthetic of Shiwan art, biographies of the artists and illustration of the marks they used present both a descriptive appreciation of the art that is Shiwan, and scrutiny of materials relating to authenticity. A special section is devoted to the specialties of the flower pot guilds whose long ceramic rooftop friezes depicted Foshan's theatrical arts, freezing a colourful moment in history. Modernization in Shiwan is treated in the third portion of the study which includes an examination of Shiwan's re-organization and modernization in the context of overall developments in China and the major resulting changes in its art. A number of contemporary potter family trees demonstrate a strong family tradition. Chapter V diagrams the development of Shiwan kiln technology and treats some technical and descriptive aspects of Shiwan biscuits, glazes and production techniques. It is the conclusion of this thesis that Shiwan art embodies an artistic expression of the soul of the people of South China, whose principles bear considerable potential for all potters.